Recap and Reaction: Tigers Bound for Super Regionals After Raleigh Regional Sweep

June 4, 2018 By Taylor Jones

 

Regional Champs
Auburn vs NC State during the NCAA Baseball Regionals on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Raleigh, NC.
Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

Auburn Baseball (42-21) sweeps the competition at the NCAA Raleigh Regional over the weekend, outscoring their opponents by a score of 40-12 in three games. The Tigers must wait until the Gainesville Regional is completed before the next stop on their journey to Omaha is discovered

Let’s party like it’s 1999.

The Auburn Tigers are heading to the Super Regionals for the first time since 1999 after winning three games in Raleigh. The offense was at a premium, and pitching was dominant. From the new talent to the older veterans, this Auburn team played about as well as anyone could have asked for. It was a signature moment in the history of Auburn Baseball.

Let’s rewind and reminisce, shall we?

FRIDAY: AUBURN 13 NORTHEASTERN 4

Steven Williams (41) and Conor Davis (24)
Auburn vs Northeastern during the NCAA Baseball Regionals on Friday, June 1, 2018, in Raleigh, NC.
Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

In the fourth installment of this saga, this episode was titled “Freshmen.”

It seemed as if a freshman was behind every big play in Auburn’s 13-4 win over Northeastern on Friday to open the Raleigh Regional. Tanner Burns began the day on the mound and continued his successful streak by turning in six innings, striking out two batters and allowing two earned runs on seven hits. Burns ran into trouble early by allowing three hits in the opening inning with one out. However, he dug himself out of trouble by retiring two batters in a row, leaving the bases loaded.

It seemed as if the Huskies from Boston had control of the game early, but that was until the Tigers saw the plate. In the bottom of the inning, Auburn had two runners on with two outs to bring up the freshman, Edouard Julien. The “Canadian Crusher” did what he did best, and cleared the bases by launching a three-run bomb over the left field wall to give Auburn the early 3-0 lead.

Burns got through the first two innings relatively unscathed, but the 3rd inning drew challenges for the freshman right-hander. The Huskies scored two runs in the top of the inning, led off by a double by Charlie McConnell. Jake Farrell, the team’s leading batter, scored McConnell on an RBI double, putting Northeastern on the board, 3-1. Farrell would find his way home due to a couple of errors by Auburn, one on a throwing error by Burns, and the other on a throwing error by Josh Anthony, which led Farrell to score. The Tigers somehow got out of the inning while holding onto a 3-2 lead. Auburn extended their command in the bottom-half on a Jay Estes single.

In innings 4-6, Auburn would plate six runs. Beginning in the 4th inning, Luke Jarvis and Will Holland reached base on walks, bringing up freshman Steven Williams. Williams, like his freshman teammate Julien earlier in the contest, smacked a three-run shot over the wall, giving Auburn a 7-2 lead. Williams would contribute again in the 6th inning on an RBI double to left field as part of a three-run inning. Holland and Brendan Venter also had RBI in the inning.

The Tigers final three runs were scored over innings 7-8. Holland singled to left field to score Jarvis in the 7th inning, with the final two runs coming on wild pitches. For Northeastern, McConnell led off the 5th inning with a solo home run, and Jake Rosen’s single in the 9th scored the Huskies final run of the game.

Steven Williams and Edouard Julien led the charge at the plate for Auburn. The freshmen duo each hit a three-run blast with Williams leading the team in RBI, and four hits. Julien, along with Brett Wright had three hits. Josh Anthony and Will Holland had two hits each. In relief, Welby Malczewski turned in three innings of work, striking out two batters and allowing a run.

 

SATURDAY: AUBURN 12 ARMY 1

Casey Mize (32)
Auburn vs Army during the NCAA Baseball Regionals on Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Raleigh, NC.
Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

It took the Tigers a while to get started, but Auburn was able to reach peak performance, snagging a win to move them to championship Sunday with two victories in their first two matchups.

You could not help but feel a sense of confidence in the team as Casey Mize took the mound for his start on Saturday against Army. Mize retired the first five batters of the game before allowing a hit and walk before getting out of the 2nd inning. The only struggle that Mize showed came in the 6th inning when Jon Rosoff hit a solo homerun to put Army’s only run on the board. In his final start before Monday’s MLB Draft, Mize tossed seven complete innings, allowing an earned run on four hits while striking out 11 batters.

Brendan Venter and Josh Anthony showed out at the plate, picking up three hits each. Luke Jarvis and Will Holland joined Anthony in recording two RBI in the contest.

Auburn’s offense did not take full flight until the 5th inning when 9 runs came across the plate to score. Leading 1-0 after a Brett Wright homer in the 4th, the Tigers cranked up their big inning with two home runs to lead off. Anthony and Holland went back-to-back to extend Auburn’s lead to 3-0. Estes and Jarvis also went back-to-back in the inning, this time with doubles. Estes scored Williams on his one-out double, and then scored himself along with Julien on Jarvis’ double. Anthony picked up his second hit, and second RBI of the inning on a double of his own, scoring Jarvis. The final runs of the inning came on an error during Steven Williams’ at-bat that scored Holland and Anthony.

Williams and Holland’s big knocks in the 7th inning capped the scoring. Holland earned his 2nd RBI on a single while Williams’ triple sent Holland home, giving Auburn the 12-1 lead.

“It was a good win for our program – well-pitched and well-defended,” coach Butch Thompson said after the win. “The guys were resilient and hit some balls hard. We finished the game very well.”

Auburn would enter Sunday in good shape, needing just a single win to advance to the Super Regional.

 

SUNDAY: AUBURN 15 NC STATE 7

Josh Anthony (3)
Auburn vs NC State during the NCAA Baseball Regionals on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Raleigh, NC.
Photo: Wade Rackley /Auburn Athletics

Can I just take a moment to appreciate the weekend that Josh Anthony had in Raleigh?

Anthony finished the regional 9-for-13 at the plate with three doubles, one home run and seven RBI. That performance gave him “Most Outstanding Player” honors. He capped off his amazing weekend with a 4-for-5, 5 RBI day in the regional clincher against NC State on the Wolfpack’s home field.

“I’m a senior, so I’ve been playing with nothing to lose and only something to gain,” said Anthony. “We all talked about it before this postseason that this is a brand new season. Nothing you did in the past matters up to this point. It’s only what you do now. We’re all trying to get to Omaha, and we’re all trying to win.”

The Tigers scored at least one run in each of the first five innings. Brendan Venter led off the day by hitting a sacrifice fly in the 1st inning to give Auburn the 1-0 lead. Three runs scored in the 2nd inning with Anthony, Brett Wright, and Conor Davis each getting credit with an RBI. Anthony earned RBI #2 and #3 in the 3rd inning, extending Auburn’s lead to 6-0 at that point.

NC State fired back in the 4th inning, cutting the lead in half, 6-3. Patrick Bailey’s double scored a run with Evan Edwards picking up a single immediatley after. The single by Edwards, which resulted in an advancement to 2nd base on an error, prompted a call to the bullpen to bring in Cody Greenhill to replace the starting pitcher, Andrew Mitchell. Greenhill was immediately greeted with a two-run triple off the bat of Brock Deathridge, chopping the Auburn lead.

After a Will Holland RBI in the 5th inning, the scoreboard took a break until the 8th inning when the Tigers broke open with a five-run splurge. Two unearned runs crossed the plate, but it was another at-bat by Anthony that highlighted the inning. Anthony launched a double to right field that cleared the loaded bases to give Auburn a commanding 13-3 lead.

The Wolfpack answered in the bottom half when Shane Sheppard came off the bench to slam a three-run homer to right field.

Auburn padded the scoreboard by adding two insurance runs in the top of the 8th inning — a two-run jack by Edouard Julien extended the lead to 15-6. For Julien, it was homerun #17 on the season, and also RBI #67 and #68, which ties Frank Thomas’ freshman RBI record.

NC State added one more run in the 9th, but the comeback effort stopped there as Auburn earned the win, going undefeated in regional play for the third time in program history.

REACTION:

I have so much to say about what Auburn accomplished on the diamond on Sunday night. Thinking back to when I would go to games at Plainsman Park with my grandmother, or brothers, or friends, in the past and constantly think… “Auburn Baseball is going to be great someday.” I could go on and on, but that’s a post for another day. Today? I’m going to let the players, fans, and other important members of the “Auburn Family” do the talking: